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Previous Programs

2016 Physics of the Observer
2016 Awardees

2015 The Physics of What Happens
2015 Awardees

2013 Physics of Information
2013 Awardees

2010 The Nature of Time
2010 Awardees

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2008 Awardees

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
2006 Awardees

Dr. Alexander Vilenkin
Tufts University

Co-Investigators

Jaume Garriga, Universitat de Baecelona
Vitaly Vanchurin, Tufts University

Project Title

Probabilities in the Landscape

Project Summary

Models of cosmic inflation, combined with recent developments in string theory, point to a new cosmological paradigm, where distant parts of the universe have diverse properties and different particle physics. Inflationary scenarios, which explain the observed homogeneity of the universe, predict that on very large scales the universe is very inhomogeneous, with vast regions still in the state of exponential inflationary expansion, and "normal" regions like ours constantly being formed. The cosmological and particle physics parameters, such as the dark energy density or elementary particle masses, may have different values in different parts of such an eternally inflating universe. These variable parameters cannot be predicted with certainty, and one can only hope to determine their probability distributions. The proposed research will focus on the conceptual and technical problems that have been encountered in the calculation of probabilities in the eternally inflating universe. We shall also consider applications of the general theory to specific observables, such as the dark energy and dark matter densities, the magnitude of density fluctuations that seeded the structure formation in the universe, and the neutrino masses.



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